Having been fortunate to live and travel in many different parts of the world, I have always been interested in the fact that each culture, geographical area seems to have a dish that was ‘designed’ with the working man in mind. That in a minimum ‘size’, the workman could take a rather complete meal on to the job each day. In Japan, it was sushi. In New Orleans, the muffaletta sandwich. Parts of Latin America, the empanada. In Cornwall, England, it was the pasty. Other parts of England, a variation, the meat pie.
The pasty (?pæsti/) is meat, vegetables and usually rutabaga, in a semi circular, (“d” shape) crimped baked pasty. Though I have never known why, or how, and am too lazy to try and figure it out, somehow the pasty made its way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the Iron Range of Minnesota, and was largely associated with immigrant miners of Finnish descent. In the UP, pasties are kind of a tourist attraction, with many shops selling them and there being celebrations and fests honoring the pastry.
Growing up in Minnesota, it wasn’t a regular feature at our dinner table, not sure I remember them at home at all, and as an adult, it’s never been something that attracted me – I have a real aversion to chicken pot pies, and the pasty reminds of them.
But I saw one at a grocery, made by a small firm in Michigan, the Pasty Oven, Inc. , and thought I would give it a whirl. I picked the version that is beef and pork, and skipped the rutabaga. Other ingredients include potatoes, onions, barley flour and seasonings. No extra veggies in this one.
The label says you can microwave it, but I opted for the oven method, 45 minutes at 375. In Minnesota, the pasty is often served with brown gravy, so I whipped some up for this experience.
Plated, cut, you’ll notice there isn’t a lot of liquid in these pastries like pot pies have. That’s good, and provides for a better chance of having a nice crust on the pastry “wrapper.”
It’s actually tastier than I thought it would, and is very filling. It could use a little seasoning, but brown gravy adds a lot. Yes, i’d buy them again. One pasty easily serves two. Want to give the Michigan style pasty a try? The company ships product, make your selection here.
cornish pasty reviews